BY MATT TUCK
There’s a vampire invasion on the horizon, and Marvel Studios is leading the charge into the monster spotlight.
Vampires are about to flood the mainstream media again. Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, you couldn’t turn around without running into something vampire related. The blood-sucking undead were in every possible medium, and even non-horror fans fell in love with vampires. It made for a breeding ground of fan fiction that gave birth to Twilight, and teens and pre-teens across the globe adoringly sighed in unison.
As the Twilight series’ popularity waned (and horror persists had panic attacks at the thought of sparkling, fangless vampires), audiences grew tired of the blood suckers. Fans were ready for a change. When AMC adapted Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, zombies were embraced by pop culture.
Now, the tide is turning again. After a decade of zombies, audiences are ready for something fresh, and specifically Marvel is about to give them a massive dose of vampires beginning with these properties.
Before Blade unsheathes his vampire-killing sword, Sony will introduce Morbius the Living Vampire to the masses.
It’s easy to forget about the upcoming movie. Michael Morbius has fallen to the wayside since the pandemic. Sony dropped the first trailer in January 2020, then lockdowns and COVID threats changed all the company’s plans for the movie. In a twist of fate, that may turn out to be for the best.
As of now, Morbius is scheduled to release on January 28, 2022, and that could very well kick off the coming vampire craze. While it will not be on the level of Blade, Sony’s vampiric superhero will turn heads.
What will help this movie tremendously is Spider-Man: No Way Home. It is no secret that NWH is merging the Sony-verse into the MCU, and the film appears to establish a live-action Sinister Six from across the Multiverse. That direct link between Sony and Marvel’s films started with the Morbius trailer as it featured Michael Keaton reprising his role as Adrian Tooms from Spider-Man: Homecoming.
NWH releases on December 17, and it will break box office records, I am sure. Morbius will benefit from that Spider-Man excitement, and Morbius’ MCU connections will hype the film. When it releases, fans still buzzing over NWH will undoubtedly flock to theaters hoping to see a glimpse of things to come for Morbius, Venom, and the MCU.
No question, “the Daywalker” will head up the full-fledged vampire assault. The original movie franchise from the late 90s turned vampire hunting into a martial arts extravaganza, and fans are hoping for more of the same. The thing to remember is that until the Blade movie trilogy started in 1997, mainstream audiences knew virtually nothing about him. Even in the comics, he was more of a fringe character than bonafide superstar.
Since the movies, Blade has risen through the Marvel ranks. With Marvel Studios’ name recognition, having an established character getting the MCU treatment will be an automatic hit. Unless Marvel seriously drops the ball - and their track record and box office success shows they haven’t so far - Blade will not only take the MCU by storm, but he will usher vampires back into the pop culture spectrum.
For Moon Knight fans, this is a long overdue reward for their continued support of Marvel’s supernatural Batman. After years of rumors of a movie or television show, the comic community erupted in cheers when Kevin Feige announced the Moon Knight Disney+ series was in development. Since then, the intrigue has continued to build.
We know that Oscar Isaac will star as Marc Spector, and that Ethan Hawke will play the antagonist. Past that, Feige and company have said very little, and that has made the audience ravenous for any news. It also has fueled plenty of speculation.
In the comics, Moon Knight protects his neck of New York City from supernatural threats from inside the Midnight Mission. One of his most common enemies happens to be vampires and werewolves, and that has prompted plenty of theories. Since Moon Knight debuted in Werewolf by Night #32, it has led to speculation that Marvel’s superhero werewolf will surface in the show. However, there is another even more famous threat that could play out in Moon Knight.
That’s right - Moon Knight is rumored to square off with Dracula.
Ever since Moon Knight set photos were “leaked” online, there has been rampant speculation that Hawke is portraying none other than the most famous vampire of all time, Dracula.
The character first appeared in Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula, in 1897. Since the Prince of Darkness falls under the public domain, there is no copyright that prevents anyone from using the name or likeness in an original work. That is why there have been so many versions of Dracula in all forms of media for the past 124 years; no one owns the trademark, so it is wide open to publishers and creators.
In the 1970s, Marvel created its own version of Dracula when the Comics Code Authority relaxed its guidelines to allow for characters that were previously published in other forms of literature. Stan Lee and the Marvel editorial staff jumped on the opportunity, and Tomb of Dracula was born.
It’s this version of Dracula that has intrigued so many Marvel fans as of late. Along with the rumblings of him appearing in Moon Knight, there have been rumors that Marvel’s Dracula could appear in Blade as well. Don’t forget that he was the villain in Blade: Trinity, though most fans would rather not talk about that debacle.
As Marvel Studios ventures further into the supernatural, Dracula could become a running theme across many projects. Since he is part of Marvel Comics history, it is not out of the realm of possibility for that to happen.
DC VERSUS VAMPIRES
DC is getting a piece of the blood-sucking action with the 12-issue limited series, DC versus Vampires. As the title suggests, the series will star the Justice League as they battle the DC Universe’s vampires. The word on the internet is that one of the key players will be a forgotten face: I...Vampire’s Andrew Bennett. If the series takes off and with the coming wave of vampires in pop culture, this could be the launching pad for Bennett to enter the live-action DCEU.
THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES
It’s not just Marvel dipping into the blood pool. AMC, the same studio that made zombies the “it” monsters for the past decade, is bringing Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles back from the dead.
Long before teens and tweens debated Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, there was The Vampire Chronicles. The series of adult vampire novels spanned 14 books from 1976-2018. Although the series had been in print since the mid ‘70s, mainstream readers did not discover the world of Prince Lestat until the early 1990s when Interview with the Vampire was brought to life on film. That triggered an onslaught of vampire books, comics, movies, television shows, and games that would trend into the 2000s.
After years of pop culture dormancy, those Anne Rice novels are about to return to the screen. Instead of being adapted for new movies, they will be given more depth and a more sprawling story as a series on AMC beginning with Rice’s most famous book, Interview with the Vampire. Following the success with TWD, AMC has earned its horror credibility, and this could reshape the mainstream monster landscape in the same fashion that it did with TWD.
THE LOST BOYS
The latest addition to the growing trend is The Lost Boys. Yes, the Frog Brothers will return in a reboot of the 1987 horror-comedy cult classic. Just like that, we are looking at being knee-deep in vampires very soon. Will this version focus more on the horror aspects or will the tale of a murderous gang of teenage vampires and their father stick close to the original and go all-in for absurdity? All I know is that if Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, and Jason Patric don’t at least have cameos, can it even call itself The Lost Boys?
JUST DON’T REBOOT TWILIGHT
This will only be the beginning. I predict that in the next five years or so, it will be like the late ‘90s all over again with vampires all across pop culture. Cross your fingers that no one decides it’s time for a Twilight reunion. Once was definitely enough.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.